Cook: 12 hr 15 min
Serves: 10-12

Chicago’s best sandwich can be represented with this Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches recipe. This recipe has been passed down within the family and pleased Chicagonians for decades. It is fully packed with flavor, with extra spicy kick from Gardiniera mix added on top. Not to mention that it can be eaten on the go!


  • 5 pounds rump roast or round roast
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly grounded is preferable for maximum flavor
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ⅔-ounce package of salad dressing mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • French bread, Chicago’s Gonnella bread, or Italian rolls
  • Hot Italian Giardiniera mix

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Mix water, salt, black pepper, onion salt, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried basil, salad dressing mix, and bay leaf in a medium-size heavy bottom saucepan.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium high heat. Keep stirring until it reaches boiling point.
  3. Put rump roast in a slow cooker then pour over mixture of seasonings until the roast is submerged.
  4. Put on the lid and cook the roast. If slow cooker is on high setting it will take four to five hours cooking and if it is on low setting it will take ten to twelve hours.
  5. Take out bay leaf once cook. Shred it with fork, the roast should be tender by then.
  6. The cooking process can be done with oven too if you do not have slow cooker. To season the roast, mix dry seasonings and rub most of seasonings mixture all over roast’s surface and reserve the rest.
  7. Brown the meat over hot cast iron skillet.
  8. Put roast on a large roasting pan that has rack. Pour low-sodium beef broth underneath the meat. Cook roast inside preheated oven at 325ºF (163ºC) until its center reaches 125ºF (52ºC).
  9. Take out meat from the oven and rest on a warm platter for 20 minutes. Slice the beef thinly with sharp thin knife.
  10. Leftover broth from cooking can be used to make gravy to serve alongside the sandwich. Heat up broth over medium-size sauce pan. Remove excess fat on top of broth and add the rest of seasonings mixture.
  11. To serve the sandwich, place shredded or sliced meat over bread. Top it with hot Gardiniera mix for extra kick.
  12. This Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches recipe will serve ten to twelve people.

Hot Gardiniera is always served with this Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches recipe in its original version. It can be made by mixing diced green and red bell peppers, carrot, celery stalk, jalapeno peppers, onion, cauliflowers, and stuffed green olives. Its dressing is very simple, mixture of white vinegar and olive oil seasoned with garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, and black pepper.

It can take twelve hours to cook this recipe. However, the payoff is worth it as there is no sandwich that can match its flavor. It is better to recreate this recipe in a big batch as it has long shelving period. Try this Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches recipe, and you will not regret it!


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